Unbound riches: Comparative adjectives and the argument from binding

Stefano Predelli

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12775/LLP.2003.017

Abstract


Uncontroversially, the semantic interpretation of comparative adjectives such as rich or small depends, among other factors, on a contextually salient comparison standard. Two alternative theories have been proposed in order to account for such contextual dependence: an indexicalist view, according to which comparative adjectives are indexical expressions, and a hidden variable approach, which insists that a comparison standard is contributed as the semantic value of a variable occurring at the level of semantic representation. In this paper, I defend the indexicalist view against an influential argument favoring the hidden variable approach, the so-called argument from binding. I argue that independent evidence favors an understanding of comparison standards as functions, and that on such a conception of comparison standards the evidence put forth by the argument from binding is naturally accountable within an indexicalist treatment.

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References


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